Libby CWD Management Update: Oct. 9, 2019
By angelamontana

Posted: October 9, 2019

Kalispell, MT — Here is an update to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ chronic wasting disease response in the Libby area. This update includes the latest information on testing in the Libby CWD Management Zone, as well as reminders about hunting regulations and testing opportunities this fall.

Libby CWD Management Response: The below statistics are the latest from the Libby CWD Management Zone. Each column features the cause of death for each species and the number of samples tested. Positive detections for each category are identified in parenthesis.

Species Symptomatic

#samples (#positives)

Road kill Game Damage Trapping Hunter Harvest Other Total Sampled Total Positive
White-tailed deer 12 (7) 73 (4) 29 (2) 8 (1) 29 (3) 15 (1) 166 18
Mule deer 0 4 0 0 0 1 5 0
Elk 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0
Moose 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
            Totals: 175 18

 

*22 results pending as of Oct. 9: 14 hunter harvests (3 moose, 11 white-tailed deer); 5 trapping (WTD); 1 road kill (WTD); and 2 symptomatic (WTD).

Categories

Symptomatic: Animals that appear sickly are removed and sampled for CWD. Symptomatic animals tend to have a higher rate of CWD, so they are not included in the prevalence estimate.

Road-kill: During the initial efforts to detect CWD in the Libby area, FWP sampled road-killed animals. Road-killed animals tend to have a higher rate of CWD, so they are not included in the prevalence estimate.

Game Damage: Before hunting season, landowners could request game damage permits that allowed the removal of a select number of deer from their property, and in the LSA they were required to have those animals tested for CWD.

Trapping: FWP, in collaboration with the City of Libby, is trapping deer with clover traps and removing the animals off-site for random sampling in the Libby Urban Survey Area (LSA). The goal is to collect 200 samples from this designated area to help identify prevalence and distribution.

Hunter Harvest: All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone during hunting season must be checked and sampled within 3 days of harvest. The Libby CWD Management Zone encompasses roughly 10 miles around the initial detection sites.

Other: This category includes animals that were found dead, injured and euthanized, or were very old and euthanized.

 

Statewide Sampling Information

If hunters are interested in having their harvested deer, elk or moose tested for CWD, this fall FWP will pay for sampling for hunters who collect their own samples and send them to the FWP lab in Bozeman. Prior to the general season, hunters can collect samples themselves and mail them to the FWP Lab — instructions and a video are available on the FWP website. Starting with the general season, hunters can still submit samples themselves or take the samples or a deer/elk/moose head to regional FWP offices for assistance. Test results are usually available within three weeks. Hunters who harvest an animal that tests positive for CWD may receive a replacement 2019 license.

Hunters are encouraged to check with their preferred game processer to check on any potential CWD-related requirements.

 

Libby CWD Management Zone Special Regulations

The Libby CWD Management Zone encompasses roughly 10 miles around the detection sites. All deer, elk and moose harvested within the Libby CWD Management Zone must be checked and sampled within 3 days of harvest. Hunters who quarter or bone out their animal in the field must bring the head for sampling.

Libby CWD Management Zone Legal Description: That portion of Lincoln County bounded on N by Barron, Pipe and Seventeen Mile Roads; on W by USFS Libby Ranger District Boundary; on S by Bear and Libby Creeks and S boundaries of TWPs T29N, R29W and R30W; on E by Fisher River to Hwy 37, Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa.

Following the guidelines of Montana’s CWD Management Plan, FWP is scheduling a Special CWD Hunt in the Libby area this fall. FWP sold 600 white-tailed deer antlerless B licenses that can only be used in the Libby CWD Management Zone, which includes portions of Hunting Districts 100, 103, and 104. The hunt will occur at the same time as the archery and general hunting season and follow the same regulations for dates, weapon restrictions, and access.

  • Sampling Station and Check Station Information

Before Oct. 26, hunters who successfully harvest an animal in the Libby CWD Management Zone are required to bring the head to the FWP Libby Office, 385 Fish Hatchery Rd. A collection site is set up for hunters to self-report and submit the head for testing.

During general big game season (Oct. 26 to Dec. 1), the Libby Special CWD Hunt Sampling Station (Montana Department of Transportation shop on US Hwy 2, mile marker 35) will be open every day from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset. Hunters are only required to stop at the Sampling Station if they harvested an animal in the Libby CWD Management Zone. The Canoe Gulch Check Station will be open weekends from 11 a.m. – 1½ hours after sunset during the general season and all hunters, with or without game, passing the check station must stop.

Hunters will be required to document the exact location of the kill inside the Libby CWD Management Zone. Animals will be tagged with a unique identification number. Hunters can use that identification number to look up test results on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov/CWD. Test results are usually available within three weeks. Hunters who harvest an animal that tests positive for CWD may receive a replacement 2019 license.

  • Carcass Restrictions

To reduce the spread of CWD, whole carcasses, whole heads or spinal columns cannot be taken out of the Libby CWD Management Zone unless the animal has tested negative for CWD. Hunters are strongly encouraged to dispose of hides, bones and trimmings at approved landfills such as the such as the Lincoln County Landfill. The spinal column may be left at the kill site but require landowner permission if on private land. If the carcass is processed within the CWD Management Zone, any brain and spinal parts must be discarded in the Lincoln County Landfill.

  • Background

CWD is a progressive, fatal disease affecting the nervous system of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose. There is no known transmission of CWD to humans or other animals, including pets or livestock. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that hunters harvesting a deer, elk, or moose from an area where CWD is known to be present have their animal tested for CWD prior to consuming the meat, and to not consume the meat if the animal tests positive.

For more information, visit fwp.mt.gov/cwd.

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